Weight Watchers Here I Come: My Trials and Tribulations With Weight

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A funny picture to lure you into a very serious post. Remember this guy?

So I’ve been holding off on writing this for a while, and after some serious deliberation, I’ve decided to bite the bullet and do it.  Honestly, ya’ll have no idea how nervous I was to even voice this to anyone I know. And although what this post is about is obvious by the headline, let me just reinforce that 1. I’m not pregnant 2. I’m not trying to become pregnant and 3. I didn’t kill anyone. Ok? I’m just joining Weight Watchers. And the reason for my abnormal nerves? I feel like a “nutritionist” failure because of it.

I’ve been into nutrition for most of my life. I remember the moment it turned into a passion for me. I was in 7th grade and was an avid swimmer. I swam on the middle school swim team as well as on the swim club team. I’d spend upwards of 4 hours in the pool a day. However, even after 4 hours of extreme exercise, I was still a little chubby. I’ve always been a bigger kid. Even though I loved my veggies growing up, I loved my Little Debbie cakes just a little bit more. I ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted and how much I wanted. Although I was very active, that didn’t offset the 5 Nutter Butter bars I was eating before bed. Well, while the rest of my peers were slimming up and sprouting their bosoms, I was still wearing 12-14’s in women’s sizes and had the body frame of a chubby little boy. However, that all changed when my club coach, after a very disappointing practice one afternoon, decided to mandate that we keep a food journal so we could track “all the crap we were eating.” And at the ripe age of 13, I hadn’t discovered the art of lies, so my journal was a correct reflection of my food choices. As cheesy as this may sound, that food journal changed my life and how I view food, nutrition and my overall health.

I still recall when I had that “a ha” moment and it all clicked. I was really dissapointed with how I swam in one of our meets. I honestly worked my little ass off that week in practice and still performed sub par. So I went home and read through my journal and knew, that minute, why I was performing so crappy. The whole week I’d stuffed myself with macaroni and cheese, ding dongs, sweet tarts and cookies, and did not have but 2 servings of fruit or vegetables that whole week. I knew, that instant, that what I ate had a direct correlation with how I swam and how I felt. I knew then that I had to make some changes. And 6 months later, I dropped at least 30 pounds and found myself fitting into a size 0-2 pants. And you know what else? I started kicking some serious ass in my 50 freestyle 🙂

Although I ended up putting some of that weight back on, at 5’7, the most I’ve weighed since then is 165 pounds. That’s heavy to me, but in the grand scheme of life, I know that’s a perfectly healthy weight.  Especially for my height. But even though I knew I was nowhere near obese, I still felt horrible about myself. Here’s a picture of me at my highest [I’m in the green].

I knew, based on how I felt and what I saw when I looked in the mirror, that I had to lose weight. So I started doing something I knew worked and began a food journal. It took a bit longer than it did in the past [8 months to be exact] but I lost 25 pounds and found myself at a perfect weight for my body. At 140, I was lean, toned, in shape and most importantly, I was happy. I loved how I looked, how I felt and how my clothes fit. At 140, I felt invincible. From that point on, I remember stating “I will never let myself gain this weight back! I feel just too good!”  And I was true to my word. I stayed at a healthy and happy 140 [some days even 138!] until I graduated college, a full 7  months later. Here’s me at my happy weight, on my 22nd birthday.

Me with my family the night before graduation!

I looked great, right? Even though my weight crept up a little after graduating, it was still only by about 5 pounds. My clothes still fit and I still felt great about myself. The weight really didn’t start to pile on until I started my first 9-5er, a month after walking across the stage. And that weight I gained? Yeah, it’s still here, a full year and a half from when I started.

I’m on the left. This was taken in July.

There are a bunch of reasons why I’ve gained a total of 15 pounds this past year and a half. For one, I work 8-10 hours a day sitting at a desk. And with an hour commute to and from work, by the time I get home, I’m often too exhausted to work out. I know that’s just an excuse, but it’s the honest to goodness truth. Secondly, my job offers a bunch of perks. One of them being snacks, candy and free food. There is always something. Whether it be birthday cake, a jar full of candy or free sandwiches, I’ve started eating well over my alotted calories. Third, I’ve gone through fits of depression. What I’m doing now is not what I got my degree in and to me, that’s very upsetting. Although I’ve overcome my sadness and I’m feeling so much better about the job, there were months where I was utterly miserable. And the only thing that really cheered me up was wine and junk food. And lastly, I’ve taken to cooking lately. Even though I’ve been making really healthy dishes, there are only 2 of us, and I often make enough servings for 4-6 people. Although we do save a bunch for leftovers, I still end up overeating and serving myself huge portions. These are all factors that contributed to the creep on the scale and I take full responsibility for them. I’m almost 25 and I need to take charge of the one thing I can control; my body. It’s time to get healthier and feel better about who I am, physically and mentally.

And this isn’t the first time I’ve really tried to lose weight and be healthier. I’ve been trying, hard, for the past year. Even though I’ve tailor made plans for myself, nothing has worked. As a girl who knows a lot about health and nutrition, and one who is going to go back to school to become a registered dietician, this is kind of a huge blow to me. I should know this stuff, I should know what it takes to lose weight. So why aren’t I? Because I’m not perfect. I’ve tried my best to write a plan for me, but it didn’t work. Instead of beating myself up over why it didn’t, I know I have to find something that will. And after doing a ton of research and consulting with friends who have lost weight and are HAPPY on Weight Watchers [like Kelly!], I knew it was the right plan for me. Ya’ll have no idea how scared I was to even admit this. I even texted my bff, “Emily, will joining Weight Watchers make me a nutritional failure?” She wrote back with “No! I believe it’s a good plan and it’s a really good system. Just know you are beautiful the way you are!” Love when she ends her texts with that 🙂 But seriously, I’ve been afraid that ya’ll will think I’m a failure. My heart and soul is nutrition. I get nutrition Google alerts, I read all of the big nutrition blogs and I even order nutrition textbooks offline so I can be caught up when I go back to school. Nutrition and health are my life. With that being said, I was scared my readers and friends would be like “Um, you study this stuff. How come you can’t lose weight without the help of some diet? You obviously must not know much!” I know, way harsh thoughts, right? But it’s all I could think about. So friends, I’m taking this huge leap of faith by posting this. I hope you all still believe in me and will still read, even though I’m seeking outside help to lose weight. I just know what I need is some structure, and I really think Weight Watchers is what’s best for me.

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  1. Posted by Naomi on
    Friday, November 12th, 2010
    I applaud your honesty and you can do it and I know you will take a healthy approach to it. I love your honesty and you, too!
  2. Posted by Annie Packman on
    Friday, November 12th, 2010
    Claire - you are not a failure. You have the know how and the will, you are just adding a structured program in to the mix to help you reach your goals. Taking action should never feel negative. Thank you for being so amazing and writing this to help everyone else out there know that everyone (even nutritionists!) needs a helping hand now and again. You will do amazing and be at your goal weight before you know it my dear. And you always look beautiful, no matter what.
  3. Posted by Super Burbs on
    Friday, November 12th, 2010
    Oh darling, you are by no means a failure! I am sure each woman that reads this has gone through some version of this - it's just part of life (and desk jobs). Keep positive and we will help you in anyway we can!
  4. Posted by Elliot S Volkman on
    Friday, November 12th, 2010
    Oi. Soon to be wife, you are hot. That is all.
  5. Posted by Maria on
    Friday, November 12th, 2010
    Aw, don't beat yourself up! No one who matters, would judge you for looking for a little extra help. In fact, I think it makes you more credible as you recognize how to make healthy choices versus running to a quick fix method.
  6. Friday, November 12th, 2010
    I think you're being far too hard on yourself. A healthy lifestyle constantly needs to be reassessed. What worked for you one year may not work the next - that's how life is.

    I also lost a bunch of my weight as a kid. When I was 13, I was 165 lbs and a size 12 - at only 5'! It wasn't until I saw how much of a difference giving up soda made to my energy levels that I started to reassess my "calories only" go-to method of crash dieting. No 13 year old should crash diet. I made a lifestyle change, and it was slow, but it worked. My the time I was 17 or 18 I was consistently a size 4 and about 115 lbs.

    And then I went off to college, got another job, and the weight started sneaking back on. I never moved up a size, but I lost muscle and gained fat in its place. It took really reassessing how I was eating and working out to change what I was doing for the current me to get things lining up again.

    Now I'm a size 2 and guess what? I'm still about 110-115, depending on how my weight's fluctuating. But a lot of that is muscle from yoga, and I'm much more toned. I still have bad days, but I've learned the most important thing is not beating myself up, but rather caring about my body. You're doing this for yourself, not to get down on yourself. Be proud of that!
  7. Posted by Marie on
    Friday, November 12th, 2010
    Don't beat yourself up. You are beautiful and smart and full of courage.
  8. Posted by Shannon on
    Friday, November 12th, 2010
    Don't be so hard on yourself!!! Loosing weight is HARD and everyone is different when it comes to loosing weight! You are beautiful and amazing and you should do whatever makes you feel your best!!!
  9. Friday, November 12th, 2010
    Claire- Being honest is SUCH a great start towards making progress. Being stressed is no way to get healthier! No need whatsoever to feel guilty or like a failure anyway. When you go to school, you don't graduate with a degree in perfection. Just because you know the facts (like we all do whether it be about how to eat healthy or how terrible smoking is for us), doesn't mean life or the fact that we are humans won't get in the way. Honestly I think people respect professionals much more that are "real" not these on top of a pedestal types that act like it is SO easy to exercise 2 hours a day and eat only salad. Being in the health care field, I feel the pressure as well but I know our patients appreciate the fact that we aren't perfect and thus the advice we can give is more relative. I don't do anything related to my degree either! But if that is the only thing in my life that didn't go according to plan, I am cool with that. :) P.S. I would have still loved you even if you killed someone.
  10. Posted by kjpugs on
    Saturday, November 13th, 2010
    I think that it's great that you're starting! It's such an easy way to control how much you eat- they make it easy to know how much is enough. Only YOU have an advantage from knowing what good foods and recipes are low points! I know that working and blogging take up a lot of time and sometimes having to plan and control a whole eating plan yourself is just too much to add. WW makes it easy. I know you can do it!!! You'll get back to feeling great about yourself in no time :)

    And thanks for the shout out!!!
  11. Posted by Sueatpib on
    Saturday, November 13th, 2010
    Dearest Claire,
    (honestly) After reading your confession and reviewing the responses, I reflect back on your life and believe that your perception of yourself and your past is something more than you recognize. I have known you all my life, have seen you grow into the beautiful young lady that you are. Always,remember, you have to love yourself before you can love anyone else. Your body is only a vessel to to carry your spirit to have the capability to touch other peoples lives. Carry on, as you do! Love, Aunt Sue
  12. Posted by Emily on
    Monday, November 15th, 2010
    I meant it, you ARE beautiful just how you look right now. But I definitely understand where you're coming from. Take this opportunity to learn, make long-lasting lifestyle changes, and get back to your happy weight. You're going to flourish on WW, I just know it. And I promise I'll support you 150% :)